Filed under: ACA, Affordable Care Act, Deadlines, Health Care Reform, Health Reform, Melissa Miller, PHR, Ted Kirchharr, The Busy Business Owner's Updated Guide to Health Care Reform: What You Need To Know | Tags: ACA, employer, Health Care Reform, Health Reform, Human Resources, Insurance Reform, Landrum Human Resources, Landrum Staffing, PEO, PPACA
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“The Busy Business Owner’s Updated Guide to Health Care Reform: What You Need to Know”
by Ted A. Kirchharr
We have added a page to our blog that is designed to keep you updated and informed on current policies and/or changes in the Health Care Reform Law. Updates will be posted on that page as we become aware of new developments. Please visit often to stay current or sign up to receive email alerts.
To read about the latest updates to the Health Care Reform Law go to: http://landrumhrblog.com/about/health-care-reform-law-updates/
Filed under: Family, Human Resources | Tags: Family Business, Landrum Human Resources
The year 1970 was a year of new adventures for H. Britt Landrum, Jr. and his wife Nell. Not only was it the year they decided to open an employment agency, but also the year their first child, Britt Landrum, III was born; born in the business of Human Resources in a literal sense, that is.
In this month’s issue of PEO Insider, a monthly publication of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO), the 45 year old Landrum family business is featured.
The article spotlights father and son and tells the tale of, Growing Up PEO.
by Jim Guttmann, SPHR on May 1, 2015
I was working for a large government contractor when asked to conduct an on-site investigation at a relatively small public airport in the Northeast. Think of the popular 90’s television show Wings, and you’ll get a good picture of the environment. The investigation was prompted by a complaint received from an employee, a fireman at the airport, who alleged that recent procedural changes violated Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety standards. The procedure in question was based on airport management’s request that firemen don business attire (company shirt, dress pants and tie) and do some administrative work as part of their duties. This employee felt management’s request was unreasonable: As a fireman with over 20 years at the airport, it was his belief that the new procedure could delay his response in the event of an emergency situation.
Getting away from the corporate office in Florida for a few days was appealing and I was eager to take on this interesting assignment. That is until I became aware that…
The fireman’s complaint was concocted using newspaper or magazine copy of letters cut out and glued in formation to spell out certain words.
Upon seeing the note, I viewed it as a throw-back to the days when death threats were sent in that manner or someone had taken another as hostage. I quickly convinced myself, however, that it was just a creative way for the individual to bring home his point. That is until I found out that everyone (including his manager) was afraid of him because…
He walked around all day carrying a gym bag and acting peculiar.
Well, I told myself, so what? There are a lot of peculiar people in the world and everyone has their idiosyncrasies. I convinced myself that this gentleman was a little different, but why hold that against him? That is until I was told that…
Half his co-workers thought he had a tape recorder in the gym bag.
I didn’t like hearing that he might record our conversation without my permission; however, that could be quickly addressed with a couple of preliminary questions. As long as I asked him not to tape record our conversation, that would be fine. I thought that was a good strategy until I heard that…
The other half of the employees felt that he was going to place a bomb in the bag when coming to work one day.
It was at that point that I realized this might not be the fun assignment I was expecting, after all. Nevertheless, I was up to the challenge. Upon arriving at the airport I first spoke with the manager. He had no interest in being present during my interview with the employee. Yep, he abandoned me.
Upon privately meeting with the employee, I noticed that he was carrying a gym bag. After I said “hello” and introduced myself, he responded by saying “You’re here to terminate me aren’t you?” As he spoke, he also had a slight grin on his face. While trying not to show being slightly unnerved, I told him that I wasn’t there to terminate his employment but to get specific information about his complaint. That’s right; we would not carelessly terminate the employment of a potential whistleblower – even if he did act rather peculiar.
Based on the heads-up I had been given about a possible recording device, I asked him if he had a tape recorder in the gym bag and if he intended to tape record our conversation. He then plopped the bag on the table, smiled, and said it was just clothes. At this point I relaxed a bit, figuring if it was a bomb as some suspected, he wouldn’t just plop it down on the table in that way.
I spent about an hour with him to obtain all the details pertaining to his complaint. His point of view was rather interesting, although inflexible. He showed me a couple of articles about tragic plane crashes and emergency situations at airports around the country. It didn’t matter to him that emergency situations of that degree are very rare – especially at a relatively small public airport.
Shortly after returning to Florida and delivering my report we learned that he also filed a complaint with the Governor’s office and the FAA; so much for my attempt to prevent the escalation of his complaint… To my knowledge, however, the change in procedures did not violate any safety standards. This was confirmed when the company was not found to be in violation of any state or federal guidelines. This employee, while still regarded as peculiar, continued as a successful employee for quite some time.
So, at the conclusion of this rather peculiar story, what’s the lesson here? Certainly, one would be that you can’t always jump to conclusions as to what someone is really like. The image that a person shows to others may only be a means to his end purpose. In this case, the end purpose was to be heard by the “right people.” Regardless of the individual’s motives, everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect even if we find that person to be a little eccentric or his views are far different from our own. Rather than reacting based on fear, rumor or speculation, try engaging that person in conversation to understand him better.
In this particular instance, I’m just happy to say; All’s well that ends well!
Filed under: ACA | Tags: ACA, Affordable Care Act, enrollment period, Health Care Reform, Health Insurance, Obamacare, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Ted A. Kirchharr
Written by Ted A. Kirchharr on Wednesday February 25,2015
It may not come as a big surprise to learn that there is another delay in a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Recent polling has suggested that many Americans were not aware of the tax consequences of the individual mandate, the provision of the law that requires all Americans to obtain health insurance.
Since the open enrollment period for obtaining health insurance through Healthcare.gov has already passed, the administration is granting a special enrollment period from March 15 to April 30th for those individuals who attest that they were not aware of the tax penalty until after February 15, 2015. You are still liable for the tax in 2014 ($95 per adult, $47.50 per child or 1% of income—whichever is greater) and you are still liable for the tax for the months you were uninsured in 2015. Remember the annual penalty goes up in 2015 to $325 per adult, $162.50 per child or 2% of income, whichever is higher.
If you have not obtained health insurance, this special enrollment period will give you another opportunity to comply.
As Vice President of Marketing and Benefits, Ted is responsible for Landrum’s strategic planning, benefits administration, information technology, sales and marketing. He has helped hundreds of organizations pursue strategic planning, institute quality management, hone organizational development, instill leadership training and improve employee engagement. He has authored or co-authored a number of professional publications and edited and contributed to the eBook Employee Development: Big Company Results on a Small Business Budget; currently listed as a Human Resources and Personnel Management Kindle best seller. His latest book, The Busy Business Owner’s Guide to Health Care Reform: What You Need to Know, was released in December 2012 with an updated Third Edition released in December 2014, on Amazon.com.
Ted is regularly invited to speak at community and national organizations on the subject of healthcare reform. Ted can be contacted at TKirchharr@LandrumHR.com.
Filed under: Human Resources, Joni Humphreys | Tags: "employee motivation", Employee Development, motivation
Motivation: What’s Your Method of Delivery? Make it a Team Approach
posted by: Joni Humphreys on January 8, 2015
I was included in an email from our Staffing and Recruiting Manager that was sent to kick off a new week at the office. The email consisted of only three bulleted words but I felt like those three words packed an abundance of motivation.
- Determination – It’s all about mindset. If we begin our day by telling ourselves we’re determined, we can usually accomplish what we set out to do. We might be determined to just simply have a good day, or to get items marked off our To Do list. Whatever it is, set your mind to it and do it!
- Enthusiasm – We are here to help others each day. That’s what we do, whether it’s our clients, employees or each other. Know that you have the ability to affect everyone around you just by being excited about what you do. Embrace the true nature of what we do – helping people! If you’re able to do this, it’s easy to be enthusiastic about your job.
- Confidence – You are the expert! We are called upon by our clients because they trust us and the knowledge we have in order to help make their jobs easier. Remember, you do this every day, its second nature. Believe in yourself and your team.
It’s not unusual for Mandy Resmondo to send her staff motivational messages, but it was this particular one that I inquired and asked her to expound not only on those three bulleted words but also her process in which she chooses and delivers her messages.
According to Resmondo, her message serves as a reminder. “Year-end is hectic and we’re all pushing to meet goals. We’re determined to do so, but at the same time we must continue to offer excellent service. It can be tough to remain enthusiastic this time of year, so these words provided a good reminder to everyone.”
It was interesting to learn that many of her messages derive from a weekly staff meeting. This team approach strengthens the overall focus and staff cohesiveness.
The “phrase of the week” is selected during a Monday morning meeting and can be based on a variety of topics:
- Sales theme for the current week or quarter
- Responses from staff when asked about the company goals and expectations
- Inspiration from a co-worker
- A positive message or outcome as a result of helping a client
- A relevant topic or project on the “to do list”
Sharing words of inspiration and/or positive messages is a good motivator for employees and helps get everyone going on the same page. Here are some ways Mandy and her staff share their weekly motivational messages:
- Presented at a weekly meeting
- Included in an early morning email
- Displayed on a white board
- Archived for later reference
- Written reminders at individual’s desks
We all need positive reinforcement in our lives both at work and home. It’s never too late or early to start. What are some ways you encourage or motivate your staff to stay positive? Do you have a unique or fun method of delivery? We’d love to hear from you.
Filed under: Human Resources | Tags: Christmas, Holiday Workplace Parties, HR, Human Resources, Office Parties
I know, I know, you haven’t even had your turkey and dressing yet, but tis the season to plan your company party. Taking time to set proper expectations could be the difference between a Winter Wonderland and the Nightmare Before Christmas.
A recent survey shows that 58% of companies will be having some form of off-site year-end celebration this season. Great news for the fun loving employee – frightful trepidation for the HR department. Good News – it doesn’t have to be.
Holiday parties can bring out questionable behavior in even the most mild-mannered employee. Something about being outside of the actual office setting can cause employees to lose their inhibitions and put that darn lampshade on their head. While a successful office party should be a time for putting a jingle in your mingle, it is still important for all employees to remain professional and respectful.
Here are some tips for the office party planner:
Consider sending an email prior to the event reminding all employees to celebrate and enjoy the night in a festive, yet professional manner.
Make it clear that the event is purely voluntary so there is no confusion regarding pay.
Communicate proper dress code ahead of time so that all employees are aware of the proper attire.
Discuss with supervisors how to properly handle any policy violations that are observed during the event.
Make sure that all members of senior management know to set a proper example (“Umm excuse me, Mrs. CFO, could you remove that lampshade from your head?” That could be awkward).
Take steps to ensure that overindulgence is kept to a minimum, if alcohol is served (not recommended) establish a set number of drink “tickets” ahead of time; better yet, have a cash bar with some or all proceeds going to a local charity. We don’t tend to drink as much if we are buying. Have you ever noticed that?
Have a plan in case there is a need to provide a taxi ride/transportation.
These parties could potentially become a source of liability for employers; however, there are ways to ensure that everyone has a great time which is, after all, the whole point! May your tinsel never tangle, your lights always shine, and your holidays be merry.
Filed under: Uncategorized
written by Michele Hynes, PHR – HR Manager at Landrum Human Resources
PINK! PINK! It’s everywhere this month… on the football field, in your favorite stores, even lighting up the night sky. As a business owner, HR professional or human being, we all want to support and encourage cancer patients and survivors. But are we protecting them in the workplace? Are we discriminating against them without even realizing?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities. As a result of changes made by the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) people who currently have a cancer diagnosis, are in remission, or have a history of cancer fit the definition of “disability”. With the revision of the disability definition employers are prohibited from making employment decisions based on an applicant’s or employee’s cancer history or current diagnosis.
A recent story out of Pennsylvania indicates a doctor terminated a 12-year employee due to her cancer diagnosis. He sent a registered, handwritten letter to the employee’s home stating her illness would be “significant and distracting” and that she would not be able to “function” in my office at the level required while battling for your life. Because of this, I am laying you off without pay as of August 11, 2014.”
Whether or not this diagnosis will take a physical toll on this employee’s health, she is still protected under the ADA, which means she is protected from job discrimination as long as she is able to perform the essential functions of her job. When questioned, the doctor stated he was only looking out for his long-term employee and meant her no harm. In the court of public opinion, however, his actions appeared suspicious and the motive behind his action was questioned. Don’t get caught unaware and let this happen to you! The EEOC has created an extensive list of Questions and Answers on this very topic. Please visit http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/cancer.cfm for more information.
As we proudly wear our PINK this month in show of support for all survivors and those we have lost, let’s also remember to check our practices to make sure we are not negatively impacting those that are already fighting the fight of their life.
Filed under: Human Resources | Tags: employee, employer, Leadership, Peer to Boss, Supervisor, team
written by Tracy Herman, SPHR – HR Manager at Landrum Human Resources
The day you have been dreaming of is here. You have just become a boss. Now what do you do?
According to Careerbuilder.com, more than 60% of new leaders don’t receive any supervisory training at all and are expected to hit the road running the first day on their new job. This leaves them to learn their new responsibilities through trial and error. Even worse, 42% of new supervisors have no idea what is expected of them! Organizations that do provide training often deliver it too late, or the training lacks focus on skills that help new leaders become effective in communication, collaboration, and coaching skills.
Acquiring these skills can be tricky and is an ongoing process. For first time managers and leaders, knowing how to do it “right” is a key stepping stone on the road to success. The good news is that the needed skills to make the transition from team player to team leader can be learned!
Earlier in my career when I first assumed the role of supervisor, I was fortunate enough to have a strong mentor guide me through the challenges of becoming a boss that people would respect. She also helped me gain the ability to provide appropriate direction to help team members become successful.
The first step I took was to have upfront conversations with each department member. More importantly, I listened! Part of the discussion was about loss and gain from the new relationship. The loss was the peer relationship of sharing the same work level issues no longer applied. If perceived as a friend and not a supervisor, your team may doubt your ability to be effective. They may feel you can’t (or won’t) address performance issues with staff members or make difficult decisions that are best for the department. The gain could be that some of the good ideas floating around the department may get implemented because of a new decision maker’s perspective (be a champion of change!).
We talked about team member goals and where they saw themselves in their careers, both short and long term. We also discussed department and organization needs and how each individual would play a role in meeting those goals.
One department member had also worked hard for the position I was promoted to and we discussed her struggle with not being selected. She felt she had been “passed over” and not sure she would be long term with the company anymore. I periodically conducted meetings with the employee to gauge morale, and although she eventually moved to another department our working relationship remained good.
I then began to establish goals for the department and more importantly, held everyone accountable to them through quarterly reviews. A team leader needs to lead with firm direction and not falter like a rudderless ship. I made slight changes over time and began delegating responsibilities to empower department members, giving them ownership of the department’s successes (and errors).
Forbes magazine offers these additional tips for new supervisors:
- Don’t cheapen your role by telling everyone “nothing will change”
- Make boundaries
- Get “out of the loop”
- Stop doing your old job
- Ask. Be quiet. Listen.
In conclusion, it isn’t about being popular; it’s about leading others to achieve results.